The most successful of the second-generation reggae bands, Black Uhuru maintained their high quality despite numerous personnel changes in their 16-year history. The first reggae band to win a Grammy award, for their 1983 album Anthem, Black Uhuru was, according to Reggae: The Rough Guide, "The most dynamic and progressive reggae act of the 1970s and early '80s."
Black Uhuru, whose name comes from the Swahili word meaning "freedom," was formed in the Waterhouse district of Kingston by Ervin "Don Carlos" Spencer, Rudolph "Garth" Dennis, and Derrick "Duckie" Simpson. When the group experienced difficulties securing a record contract, Spencer left to pursue a solo career and Dennis joined the Wailing Souls. Simpson, who remained the thread throughout Black Uhuru's evolution, reorganized the band with Errol "Jay" Wilson and quivery-voiced lead vocalist Michael Rose, compared by Trouser Press to "a Rasta cantor." In 1979 the group was joined by Sandra “Puma” Jones, a social worker from North Carolina, USA. Under this lineup, (Rose, Simpson and Jones), with Sly & Robbie as producers (and also permanently employed on drum and bass), they released the band’s most popular albums: Sinsemilla, Red, Chill Out, and the Grammy-winning Anthem¹, as well as others. During this period, Black Uhuru became one of the most popular reggae groups in the world, regularly touring with the likes of The Police and The Rolling Stones.